Visit to Plant

Japan's Largest Solar Power Plant Starts to Appear

2014/09/23 16:21
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Rokkashomura is located at the base of Shimokita Peninsula to the east of Aomori Prefecture. Construction is steadily progressing here on a mega- (large-scale) solar power plant, which is the largest project in Japan among ones already being constructed. It is the "Eurus Rokkasho Solar Park." The capacity of the solar panels and PV inverters that convert direct current generated by the panels to alternate current is 148MW and 115MW, respectively.

Eurus Energy Holdings Corp (Minato-ku, Tokyo), which has been running wind power generation business inside and outside of Japan, is developing the plant, and Eurus Rokkasho Solar Park Corp (Higashidorimura, Shimokita-gun, Aomori Prefecture), a special purpose company (SPC) financed by Eurus Energy Holdings, will run the plant as the power producer.

The business site, which covers 253ha, is located in Mutsu-Ogawara Development District. Eurus Energy Holdings rented the site, which had been owned as an industrial site by a third-sector party financed by Aomori Prefecture and others. Construction started in August 2013 and is slated for completion in November 2015.

The "Eurus Rokkasho Solar Park" consists of two sites: the "Chitosedaira-kita site," which is situated inland (Fig. 1), and the "Takahoko site" close to the coast (Fig. 2). Their power generation is 55MW and 60MW, respectively. These sites are approximately 5km away from each other and transmit power to Tohoku-Electric Power Co Inc's Rokkasho substation via extra high tension cables (154kV). A total of 16.4km of cables will be laid under the road from these sites to the substation.

Construction site looks like huge cemetery

In early September, I visited both sites under construction. The inland Chitosedaira-kita site is being constructed in an elongated site that stretches east/west about 2.6km across Prefectural Road 25. Solar panels will be set up on mounting systems attached with H-shaped steel poles driven into the ground as pile foundations. Construction has entered the next stage from areas in which the preceding stage has finished. In the areas near the prefectural road, progress has been fast and panels have already been set up (Fig. 3).

An observatory a few meters high has already been established near the prefectural road. At the top of the observatory, you can look at the panels placed over the gentle slopes, mounting systems being constructed and pile foundations driven into the ground. Beyond the site, about 2km from the observatory, are the woods where the trees look hazy.

As you walk further into the site being constructed, the construction phase moves into the earlier phase, and only the tops of the H-shaped steel piles show from the ground, neatly arrayed across the slopes from the middle of the walk. The landscape, which is like a huge cemetery, was impressive (Fig. 4).

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